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BITC delivered over P5 billion investment in 2019

Botswana Investment & Trade Centre (BITC) – the country’s integrated investment promotion agency- has delivered over P5 billion worth of investment during the year 2018/19. This is according to the organization’s annual report for the year ended 31st March released this week.

Chief Executive Officer of BITC  Keletsositse Olebile says the organization has done significantly well in the first year of implementation of the 2018-2023 strategic plan as demonstrated by a remarkable performance score of 94% in the first year of the strategic operation against an excellence performance target of 80%.  “The 2018 overall performance as evaluated against the above captioned strategic focus areas, depicts an upward surge in performance compared to the previous year,” he said.

During the year BITC realized cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows of BWP3.168 billion against the cumulative target for the period of BWP1.8 billion. According to Olebile, the upward positive variance was largely attributable to a surge in the performance from the Financial Services sector.  In terms of Domestic Investment, cumulative inflows and expansions for the year was BWP2.273 billion against the set consolidated target of BWP1.9 billion.

In the quest to continue facilitating export of Botswana products and services to diversified markets, BITC registered exporting businesses realized  a total of BWP2.628 billion in export earnings in the year under review against a target of BWP2.676 billion. The 1.7% adverse variance is attributed to the subdued global economic environment.

“We are however pleased to report that the 2018/19 financial year saw first sales into diversified markets of two new products; organic fertilizers and scientific laboratory boards. Organic fertilizers entered for the first time into both the Zimbabwean and South African markets, while scientific laboratory boards had their first sales into Zimbabwe,” shared Olebile.

The CEO further highlighted that BITC efforts geared towards advocating for export incentives have intensified as the centre continues to encourage outward oriented investments so that they are able to attain the necessary economies of scale. The total number of jobs registered by BITC during the year under review was 3,565 against the cumulative target for the period of 3,150 jobs. Services, Agriculture and Agro- processing sectors followed by the Manufacturing sector contributed more to realizing these jobs.

“It should be noted that these verifiable figures only entail jobs created by businesses that are registered with BITC,” reiterated Olebile. 18 companies converted during the financial year from Mining, Manufacturing and Financial Services sectors. Twelve (12) companies were allocated land and two (2) were allocated factory space during the year. The Botswana One Stop Service Centre (BOSSC) processed a total of 602 Government authorizations out of which 566 were approved, 13 rejected and 23 were pending as at year end.

During the year ending 31st March 2019, BITC recorded a surplus of BWP 13 991 337, this was a decrease of 25% compared to last financial year’s restated surplus of BWP 18 585 331. This according to BITC CEO was largely contributed to successful implementation of activities planned for the year. BITC continues to rely wholly on Government funding which makes 83% of its total revenue whilst 17% is internally generated.

For the 2018/19 financial year BITC internally generated revenue stood at 17% of the total revenue, surpassing the Centre’s annual target of 15%, largely contributed by an increase in interest generated from short term investments and increased occupancy rate of factory shells.
 In the financial year ended March 2019, BITC received a total subvention of BWP 101 830 560, which was a slight increase of 1.5% from last year’s subvention of BWP 100 330 560.

According to the report, Budget utilization was optimized at 90%, slightly below prior year’s utilization of 93%, mainly because the Centre collaborated with a number of key stake holders to finance some of the initiatives and reduce the burden on BITC. “The integrated approach to undertaking marketing, promotional and branding activities resulted in cost efficiencies that resulted in the 3% reduction in the overall budget utilization. We are further evaluating opportunities to reduce costs through continuous improvements,” shared Olebile.

BITC Board Chair Victor Senye noted in the reported that some of the key highlights during the year was elevation of efforts aimed at diversification within the mining sector. BITC accredited Minergy and Maatla resources who will be mining coal for export to the Republic of South Africa (RSA) where demand for coal exceeds supply.

He said BITC continues to engage with various responsible stakeholders with a view to enhance the mining sector through sustainable value addition, noting efforts such as invitations of key players in Diamond Trading Company Botswana (DTCB) and Okavango Trading Company to missions abroad particularly where there is an appetite for gem  diamonds.

“Salient among the missions is Forum on China-Africa Coorporation (FOCAC) mission in China which was undertaken in the year under review. BITC India office also continually attracts cutting and polishing companies in India to expand to Botswana which is a source market for gem diamonds as the largest producer of gem diamonds by value in the world,” he said.

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Matsheka seeks raise bond program ceiling to P30 billion

14th September 2020
Dr Matsheka

This week Minister of Finance & Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka approached parliament seeking lawmakers approval of Government’s intention to increase bond program ceiling from the current P15 Billion to P30 billion.

“I stand to request this honorable house to authorize increase in bond issuance program from the current P15 billion to P30 billion,” Dr Matsheka said. He explained that due to the halt in economic growth occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic government had to revisit options for funding the national budget, particularly for the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 11.

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Lucara sits clutching onto its gigantic stones with bear claws in a dark pit

14th September 2020
Lesedi La Rona

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has this week revealed a gloomy picture of diamond mining newcomer, Lucara, with its stock devaluated and its entire business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A BSE survey for a period between 1st January to 31st August 2020 — recording the second half of the year, the third quarter of the year and five months of coronavirus in Botswana — shows that the Domestic Company Index (DCI) depreciated by 5.9 percent.

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Botswana Diamonds issues 50 000 000 shares to raise capital

14th September 2020

Botswana Diamond PLC, a diamond exploration company trading on both London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday unlocked value from its shares to raise capital for its ongoing exploration works in Botswana and South Africa.

A statement from the company this week reveals that the placing was with existing and new investors to raise £300,000 via the issue of 50,000,000 new ordinary shares at a placing price of 0.6p per Placing Share.

Each Placing Share, according to Botswana Diamond Executives has one warrant attached with the right to subscribe for one new ordinary share at 0.6p per new ordinary share for a period of two years from, 7th September 2020, being the date of the Placing Warrants issue.

In a statement Chairman of Botswana Diamonds, John Teeling explained that the funds raised will be used to fund ongoing exploration activities during the current year in Botswana and South Africa, and to provide additional working capital for the Company.

The company is currently drilling kimberlite M8 on the Marsfontein licence in South Africa and has generated further kimberlite targets which will be drilled on the adjacent Thorny River concession.

In Botswana, the funds will be focused on commercializing the KX36 project following the recent acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds from Petra Diamonds. This will include finalizing a work programme to upgrade the grades and diamond value of the kimberlite pipe as well as investigating innovative mining options.

Drilling is planned for the adjacent Sunland Minerals property and following further assessment of the comprehensive Sekaka database more drilling targets are likely. “This is a very active and exciting time for Botswana Diamonds. We are drilling the very promising M8 kimberlite at Marsfontein and further drilling is likely on targets identified on the adjacent Thorny River ground,” he said.

The company Board Chair further noted, “We have a number of active projects. The recently acquired KX36 diamond resource in the Kalahari offers great potential. While awaiting final approvals from the Botswana authorities some of the funds raised will be used to detail the works we will do to refine grade, size distribution and value per carat.”

In addition BOD said the Placing Shares will rank pari passu with the Company’s existing ordinary shares. Application will be made for the Placing Shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that such admission will become effective on or around 23 September 2020.

Last month Botswana Diamond announced that it has entered into agreement with global miner Petra Diamonds to acquire the latter’s exploration assets in Botswana. Key to these assets, housed under Sekaka Diamonds, 100 % subsidiary of Petra is the KX36 Diamond discovery, a high grade ore Kimberlite pipe located in the CKGR, considered Botswana’s next diamond glory after the magnificent Orapa and prolific Jwaneng Mines.

The acquisition entailed two adjacent Prospecting Licences and a diamond processing plant. Sekaka has been Petra’s exploration vehicle in Botswana for year and holds three Prospecting Licenses in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Kalahari) PL169/2019, PL058/2007 and PL224/2007, which includes the high grade KX36 kimberlite pipe.

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